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Here They Come Paperback – May 10, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Told by a precocious unnamed 13-year-old girl who bends spoons with her mind, Murphy's gorgeous third book of fiction recounts the story of a poor family's coming-of-age in 1970s New York. The young protagonist's world is populated by idiosyncratic characters, including her equally precocious sisters Jody and Louisa; her also unnamed suicidal musician brother, who keeps a shotgun in his room; her depressed but strong-willed mother; her ailing and confusedly nostalgic grandmother Ma Mere, and John, the hotdog vendor on the corner who trades Hershey bars for a chance to cop a feel. When Cal, her gambling, deadbeat dad, who lives with his new girlfriend, "the slut," goes missing, the family bands together to find him and tries to survive in a world where they can't catch a break. The brother and the girlfriend travel to Spain on a tip that Cal might be there. The others stay home, struggling through the trials of adolescence, single parenthood and deprivation. In thick, poetic prose that edges toward stream of consciousness and is peppered with slightly surreal details, Murphy (The Sea of Trees, 1997) creates a world as magical and harrowing as the struggle to come to grips with maturity. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The family story has come a long way since Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (1881). Murphy's contemporary family lives in a fifth-floor New York apartment filled with maggot-ridden garbage bags. Grandmother is a drunk; the absent filmmaker father fails to pay child support; and the young female narrator (whose name the reader never learns) permits herself to be fondled by a hotdog vendor in exchange for food. No wonder Mother says she feels more like a tomato than a pepper, "a tomato, bruised and caving in and on its way to seed." All of this is reported in a flat, affectless, just-the-facts tone by a narrator who may be incapable of feeling but has the power to bend spoons. Meanwhile, the (also unnamed) Brother, who seems to wear nothing but a silk robe emblazoned with a dragon, wanders through Spain on a feckless quest for the vanished father. This bizarre mixture of naturalism and surrealism is intriguing--and well written--enough to hold the reader's attention, but its meaning will remain a mystery for most. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
I enjoyed the rich illustrative language and colorful characters, imagining their despair and hopefulness, while the garbage continued to pile up.
Murphy is a dynamic young writer, blending a bit of concrete Hemingway with a dash of urbanized Pearl S. Buck.
This novel would make a wonderful period motion picture, capturing that thankfully long gone slice of hazy and humid tenement Manhattan with the greasy aroma of hot dogs lingering in the air...Is that Susan Sarandon I smell picking up her Oscar for her role as the mother?
Bring on the sequel!
I'm writing this note mainly to challenge a couple of the negative reviews and also say that this book probably isn't for everyone - esp. those who are mired in traditional forms like the reviewer who couldn't locate the plot in this book. I suspect this is a matter of taste on the reviewer's part and not that the author forgot or neglected to include something fundamental in her work.
That said, if you liked "On The Road" and "Catcher in the Rye" then you'll probably enjoy "Here They Come" as well. I think the other reviewer who mentioned Wes Anderson is right on with that comparison, too.
I'm very, very careful about what I read because my free time is so scarce - this book was well worth my time.